Bus, Train or Car: The Best Way to Get Around the UK

The UK is not the largest country in the world, but in order to travel from city to city, you will need to decide upon a mode of transport, as walking is not an option and cycling may not be wise.

Most people drive or use public transport (train or bus).

Each mode of transport has its pros and cons, so here is a quick guide to help you make the right transport decision when traveling in the UK.


There are millions of cars on UK roads and an extensive road network to carry them from A to B. If you don’t have a clue how to get there, use a SatNav device and check out car parking spaces on yourparkingspace.co.uk. When the roads are quiet, traveling by car is a convenient way to reach your destination. You can use a car to travel to places off the beaten path and not have to worry about your train or bus service being canceled at short notice, thus leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere.

On the downside, the UK motorway networks are often congested, especially around London, so a relatively short journey may take many hours to complete. Car hire can also be pricey, even with alternatives like easycar.com gaining traction, and don’t forget to factor in the cost of fuel.

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Trains are a convenient way of traveling between major towns and cities. The rail network in the UK is relatively good and traveling by train means you can arrive relaxed and refreshed. You can book rail tickets online before you travel, picking them up at the station or printing them off with a computer. There are plenty of great discounts to be had by booking tickets in advance, so it is possible to travel from one city to another very cheaply.

The main disadvantage of traveling by train is that they are unreliable. The rail network is privately run by several different companies, so different standards of service are variable. Prices can also be expensive if you travel at the last minute.

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Buses are great if you need to make short journeys in cities or in rural areas. Bus networks are extensive and there are very few places not on a bus route. Prices vary between different bus networks, but if you buy a day or week pass, bus fares are not too expensive. If you do decide to buy a travel pass, you can hop on and off any bus within the same area, which is very convenient for tourists.

The biggest disadvantage of bus travel is that bus routes outside of city centers tend to be irregular, so you may end up waiting hours for a bus. Most bus services stop in the late evening, and in rural areas, there may only be one or two services a day. Services are also less frequent on a Sunday.

The mode of transport you choose will probably depend on where you wish to visit, so use online route planners like citymapper.com to help you arrive quickly and economically.

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